Satopanth Tal Trek – Uttarakhand – Garhwal

My best friend Deep and I trekked on the way of Pandavas towards Satopanth Tal this year pre-monsoon on June 2008. It is a trek towards the sacred lake. Trek gets started from the village Mana near Badrinath. Satopanth Tal trek is easy to moderate graded trek and has lots of scenic beauty en-route.

Trek Name – Satopanth Tal
Location – Garhwal
Nearest Base – Badrinath / Mana
River – Alakananda
Peaks Visible – Neelkanth, Nar, Narayan, Kuber, Balakun, Choukhamba, Parvati
Transportation – Bus / Share Jeep / Booked Car

Standard Itinerary (Haridwar to Haridwar)
Day 1 – Haridwar > Hrishikesh > Rudraprayag
Day 2 – Rudraprayag > Joshimath > Badrinath
Day 3 – Badrinath (Acclimatization Hike to Dumkal Kharak / Vasudhara Falls)
Day 4 – Badrinath > Mana > Laxmivan
Day 5 – Laxmivan > Chakrateertha
Day 6 – Chakrateertha > Satopanth Tal
Day 7 – Satopanth Tal > Bandhar
Day 8 – Bandhar > Mana > Badrinath
Day 9 – Badrinath > Srinagar / Devprayag
Day 10 – Srinagar / Devprayag > Hrishikesh > Haridwar

Our Itinerary (Haridwar to Haridwar)
Day 1 – Haridwar > Hrishikesh > Srinagar > Rudraprayag
Day 2 – Rudraprayag > Karnaprayag > Chamoli > Joshimath > Badrinath
Day 3 – Badrinath > Mana > Vasudhara Falls > Mana > Badrinath
Day 4 – Stay at Badrinath
Day 5 – Badrinath > Mana > Chamtoli Bugiyal
Day 6 – Chamtoli Bugiyal > Chakrateertha
Day 7 – Chakrateertha > Satopanth Tal > Chakrateertha > Laxmivan
Day 8 – Laxmivan > Mana > Badrinath
Day 9 – Badrinath > Haridwar

Guide & Porter
GuideMannu Rawat of Mana. Age around 38-40 years. He guided tourists 7 to 8 times to Satopanth Tal. Good and very experienced guy and he have a very good knowledge of the terrain. We encountered ice skeleton crossing, heavy stream crossing, glacier crossing with him and every time he was at his best. He charged @500/- per day + food. His mobile number is: 09412966171
Porter – Sahbat Sing and Kushal Sing. Both charged @250/- per day + food.

Snap Shots with Caption
Rudraprayag from opposite side of the river.
Sangam of Alakananda (right) and Mandakini (left).
Deep came here before but not noticed this beautiful place. So now being amazed he started smoking ridiculously.
A very powerful current has been built here.
A bogus pose (though instructed by Deep).
Mr. Amazed also there to being in front of the camera.
Alakananda river near Pandukeswar gate.
Eagerly waiting for another snap.
Why not I ??
Local peoples were trying to sell shawls and blankets.
Neelkanth as visible from Badrinath on the day we reached. Though it was the very cloudy day but we got a little glimpse of it.
Badri Vishal Temple. Looked very nice and glowing at night.
View towards Mana. The weather was very cloudy.
View from our room’s window. Icefall created from an upper snow field.
That road is going to Mana.
Veem Pool over Saraswati river.
Me on the way to Vasudhara Falls.
Deep busy in eating biscuits.
That is the Ice Skeleton (Mannu said its local name is Dhano Glacier) we crossed over.
Nar Parvat as seen from the path towards Vasudhara.
That ice flow made the Dhano Glacier.
Way towards Vasudhara Falls.
Reached Vasudhara Falls.
This is a stronger water flow which also made an ice skeleton.
Far away the glacier divider is visible. Satopanth glacier (left) and Vagirath Kharga glacier (right) made Alkapuri here.
Me and deep taking a bit rest.
Now he is totally visible at his full glow.
Clouds removed and Mt. Neelkanth was in front of us.
What a beauty.
Amazing Mt. Neelkanth at sunset.
Deep, Mannu, Sahbat and Kushal (right to left). My rucksack was laying on grass as I’m the photographer.
Deep can’t resist himself to treat the flowery & grassy land as his bed.
I like to give pose rather laying on the grass.
Approaching towards Dhano glacier.
We have to cross this.
Crossing Dhano was a new experience.
After crossing the ice skeleton and a steep climb we took some rest but didn’t forget to continue taking snaps.
Chamtoli Bugiyal. Our first-day camp.
Vasudhara Falls was far away from us, opposite side of the river.
Several type of flowers is all over the bugiyal.
Our tents. Porters were making khichdi.
The saddest part of the trek. Deep is returning back to Badrinath. The previous night he had a severe breathing problem and his pulse was dropped to 60. He got fever also. In the morning, we made the decision and he returned back and I stayed there to proceed further. Both of us was crying at that time. Mannu and Kushal went with Deep to guide him up to the Vasudhara trail and after that they will return back and we will start for Chakrateerth.
After Deep returned back, I was very upset. Then I decided to carry on and started taking snaps till Mannu and Kushal are coming back. This is Kuber peak.
Kuber from closer.
Then I took macro snaps of all the flowers I could find in the bugiyal.
You will be amazed by the beauty of colors.

The most beautiful flower I found there.

Seems like a spider ball.

Laxmivan flooded previous year due to break of Vanglung glacier.
This is a path towards Vanglung glacier. Signs of the flood are still there.
Alakananda became broad here.

Taking rest in between hopping over the boulders.
That was a powerful stream we crossed.
We reached Sahasradhara around 2:30 pm.
Lots of streams are coming down from the mountains.
A small non-static glacial lake.
We reached Sahasradhara region at around 2:30 pm and all the streams became very powerful. So Mannu decided to cross the region over the knife ridge and that was a terrible decision. We took 1.5 hours to cross 2 km. The most dangerous part I encountered during the trek.
Now you can better understand the ridge.
But I didn’t fear and continued taking snaps.
At last we reached Chakrateerth at around 4:30 pm.
Next day morning clouds removed from the sky and weather became so beautiful.
This is not an Ice-cream, this is the head of Choukhamba I.
Balakun was also very bright.
24 Karet GOLD plated Balakun.
Parvati peak was also visible at far.
Ice, Ice, Ice and Ice everywhere.
Balakun at his full glow.
Choukhamba massif was visible after crossing the final ridge of Chakrateerth.
Swargarohini path was also visible.
We came from down there. What a steep ridge that was.
Back face of Neelkanth.
Clouds removed from Choukhamba.
We saw the flag. Satopanth Tal is down there after that ridge.
Beautiful cloud formation from Neelkanth.
At last, I reached my destination, the Satopanth Tal.
Choukhamba is closer now. I could hear the sound of avalanches continuously coming down from Choukhamba III and feeding Swargarohini ice fall.
Took this pic through auto timer facility.
This also.
You can see the reflection of Choukhamba III in Satopanth Tal’s water.
Satopanth Tal and Choukhamba massif in one frame.
Back face of Neelkanth is not that much beautiful as the front face.
I don’t think this is a peak, but it seems.
One of the ways which feeds Satopanth Tal.
Thank God, this time we can go straight, not over that ridge.
The snout of the Satopanth glacier from where Alakananda is coming out.
Alakapuri junction.
Hundreds of sheeps were strolling over chamtoli bugiyal.
This dog followed us when returning.
Sheep ?? It seems like a mountain goat.

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